Rabobank rider Robert Gesink on Saturday consolidated his overall lead in the Tour of Oman after winning the day's 18.5 kilometre time-trial, the penultimate stage.
Gesink timed 20mins 20sec to beat Giovanni Visconti by 16sec and Marco Pinotti by 24sec at Al Jissah to leave the Dutchman with a 1min 13sec overall advantage ahead of Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen with Visconti 6sec further back.
Swiss Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara could only place fourth at 27sec on the day and he stands sixth overall at 2min 11sec off the pace. Dubbing the course topography as "long and pronounced" Cancellara said:"This time-trial was not really suited to me - more for a climber," which was meat and drink for Gesink. Fortified by Friday's stage win, Gesink's renewed strong showing suggests he has already done enough to hold off Boasson Haegen as they head into Sunday's final stage - a 157km relatively straightforward ride from Qurayyat to Mattrah Seafront.
"To win a time-trial is a real surprise, albeit on an undulating surface. But even if I am making progress in time-trialling I am not a specialist," Gesink said. "At the half-way mark, (Rabobank sporting director) Nico Verhoeven told me I had the best time. My legs were hurting terribly but that news gave me wings," he smiled.